President Shimon Peres will make a final personal plea to US President Barack Obama on Wednesday to save the life of ailing Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, by commuting his life sentence to the 28-and-a-half years he has served.
Peres is expected to discuss diplomatic issues with Obama and will receive another medal in Washington.
Whether Pollard will be able to return with the president, is seen in Israel as the sternest test of Peres’s friendship with Obama.
The outgoing president’s diplomatic adviser, Nadav Tamir, told Army Radio that Peres has always raised Pollard’s fate when he met with Obama. This will be the last meeting between the two Nobel peace prize winning presidents before Peres leaves office on July 27.
Peres was prime minister at the time of Pollard’s 1985 arrest and handed over documents with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him.
He met with Pollard’s wife, Esther, on Sunday and promised to push hard for her husband’s release.
The fate of kidnapped teens Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer will also be discussed in the meeting.
The Free Pollard campaign revealed Tuesday that Fraenkel and Shaer had signed a petition last year calling for Obama to release Pollard.
Esther Pollard told their mothers last week that her husband was praying for their sons.
A distinguished group of American constitutional and criminal law scholars and practitioners wrote to Obama recently requesting the commutation of Pollard’s sentence.
The signatories included former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, former Pollard lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Charles J. Ogletree, who is a mentor to Obama and his wife, Michelle.
“Such commutation is more than warranted if the ends of justice are to be served, the rule of law respected, and simple humanity secured,” the letter said.